Friday, November 30, 2007

iPhone 2.0 for new Year's? What about Christmas?

Verizon has recently announced that they are going to open their network to almost any hardware or software. Frankly, I too am excited. I imagine that this is exactly what 'The Steve' had in mind. I figure he imagined that once the iPhone was out the rest of the industry would have released all of the wannabe hardware, and then, almost simultaneously, all of the carriers would realize that the hardware is worthless without an open network, and the ability to do true mobile computing. My supposition is that he thought it would take more than a year, and less than two, and by the time that the iPhone's marriage with AT&T had been annulled, the G3 (or better) technology would be perfectly robust, and energy efficient enough to be included with the 2.0, and the software would be stable, with plenty of offerings from 3rd party devs, and hobbyists. That time line has obviously been fast forwarded.
I really don't believe that Verizon knows what they are getting into here. I have no doubt that their initial contracts under this system will have to be micromanaged by new customers looking to bring their own devices with Skype installed. I simply cannot believe this Devil's deal is as even handed and philanthropic as it seems. That brings me to the topic of this post. . .
Some one at AT&T heard that announcement and hit the panic button. I could go either way on weather or not both Apple and AT&T agreed to announce an AT&T native 3G iPhone. Regardless, it has happened. now the question is when. It's almost a guarantee that if it's true, we'll here about it from Apple in January. That's all well and good. New iPhone announcement in January, New iPhone by Summer, final announcement at WWDC. Between now and then the Apple Nerds are going to expect something from Steve-A-Clause. If the past trend of almost-exciting December announcements is to continue, then I expect that I know what it will be this year.
Computers, Laptops, Monitors, OS X. All have been refreshed to the extent that the market is generally settling into a confident Holiday season. So what is the new thing? I think that the new thing is going to be the most impressive thing Apple has ever released. It's going to shake the Apple crowd to its very core. Long time fans of Apple are going to feel betrayed and elated at the same time. This is it, ladies and gentlemen. Hold your breath. Sit down.
-- Apple is going to release a two-button mouse --
I can hear the collective gasps from the fan boys and girls everywhere. "It will never happen they'll say." I think it will I say. Think about it. The one button mouse concept is so old, so wrong for a modern operating system, that even Apple itself realized that it was losing the mouse hardware battle and was forced to release the 'two-button' Mighty Mouse. The response from the community was generally underwhelming. It was innovative, and looked pretty slick. I know a few people who use one exclusively. Most of my OS X wielding friends, however, use either a Logitech, or even (GASP!) a Microsoft mouse with their MACs. Why is that?
For some time OS X has supported right-click context menus, and third party software has almost always done so. The Mighty Mouse is too quirky, and too unreliable for as much right clicking that needs to be done on basic tasks. Using Leopard without right clicking is an exercise in frustration. There are so many things that need to be right-clicked, that it doesn't make sense to force users to adapt to the Mighty Mouse to accomplish such tasks. So why is this so important? Why would a two button mouse cause such an uproar in the Apple community?
Steve Job's idea behind the reinvention of the Apple was to make it easy, simple, quick. A few decades ago that meant point and click. as the OS evolved, Apple was forced to add right-click emulation with a click and hold. Click and hold on something for a second, and Pop! a context menu would pop up. The software respects the right-click, but the hardware has ignored it. It's generally believed that this is because of Steve's influence and idea that a two-button mouse represents a more complicated user experience. Even the new technology in the MACBooks support a hardware right-click. The house that Steve built, it seems, has a few open windows.
The time is ripe for a new mouse, and the precedence has been set. Boot Camp, context menus, the loss of the 'Open Apple', Mighty Mouse, multi-touch. All of these things point to a larger acceptance of mainstream ideas from within Cupertino. Yes, I believe that these things all point to the final brick in the wall that was erected by Steve finally being pushed out. And that would make this one of the most important announcements Apple has ever made.

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